Spring Training Begins, Minus Major Leaguers
Today is the day that pitchers and catchers were set to report to Clearwater for Spring Training. But the truck with supplies has not left Citizens Bank Park, and the players have not reported. The Major League players, anyway. Still locked out, Phillies camp opened but only with minor league players.
Players on the 40-man roster are not present, even if they have yet to play in the major leagues. That means prospects Jhailyn Ortiz, Simon Muzziotti, and Luis Garcia cannot report. But many did, including some of the top Phillies prospects.
Alex Coffey of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes that 59 players total are in camp, including Stott, Logan O'Hoppe, Mick Abel and Andrew Painter.
Grapefruit League action is set to begin next weekend, with the Phillies opener set for February 26 in Tampa against the New York Yankees. The Phillies were then set to split up to play one in Clearwater at BayCare Ballpark against the Minnesota Twins and another concurrently in Dunedin against the Toronto Blue Jays.
No one has called those games off officially, but they are unlikely to happen.
Meanwhile, there are no meetings planned between the MLB and MLBPA, reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today. Nightengale reports that they are "expected" to meet at some point this week. This hardly suggests a sense of urgency.
This lack of news would certainly be very disappointing for the fans who have spent their money and vacation time on a Spring Training trip. At least there is plenty to do in Clearwater, should fans still venture down to Florida.
So, there is baseball taking place in Clearwater. How long will it be until there are some big leaguers there, too? It's anyone's guess.